An estate plan is a vital way to help individuals plan for their future and maintain control over the fate of their assets and property after they pass away. However, it’s important for those planning to execute such documents to inform family about their intentions.
Failing to discuss your will, trust, or other estate planning document with your loved ones could end up in a potential dispute over your assets, property or other components during the probate process.
Critical information to discuss
Speaking with your children or close loved ones about your plan is vital, however, you do not have to tell them every minute detail about your plan. Consider sharing critical information such as:
- Your intentions behind beneficiary designations
- Your desire to contribute to any charitable or notable organizations important to you
- Your expectations for those involved with executing your plan
- Your desires for your surviving family members
Discussing such topics with your family members can set expectations, encourage understanding and unity – and prevent disputes down the line.
Don’t wait to discuss these matters. Discussing your plan when a health condition arises or a dire circumstances occurs will likely cause stressful and unpleasant moments. Making plans for the future now allows you ample time to make thoughtful decisions.
Updating your plan
Although a well-written estate plan may seem final, it should never be considered one-and-done after execution. This is because life is always changing – and yours could alter unexpectedly at any time. Life developments such as divorce, remarriage or death may impact your beneficiary designations.
U.S. News suggests that individuals review their estate plans every five to seven years. However, it will always depend on individual circumstances. You may need to update your plan every year.
Peace of mind
Thoughtful planning can give your family members a well-defined guide after your death. Finding solace knowing that you’ve spoken to your loved ones and provided a concrete detailed plan can help prevent disagreements when the time comes to administer your estate and pass on assets and property to your designate beneficiaries.